It’s finally here. The World Cup, the pinnacle of men’s football. Now, it’s a weird feeling writing that in December. After all, the World Cup is famously a summer tournament but things are a little different this time around. With summer temperatures regularly rising over 45ºC, the decision was made to move the tournament to the winter. Whether you’re for or against Qatar hosting the 2022 tournament, it’s a chance for brands to roll out some of their best marketing.
Now with the tournament happening during the festive period, if you’re a brand how do you play it? Do you lean in and go full football? Do you try to make a blend of football and Christmas?
We’ve teamed up with Behind Sport to pick out some of our favourite campaigns from this year’s tournament.
WHEN FOOTBALL IS EVERYTHING, IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING.
Kicking off the marketing campaigns, Adidas celebrates how the joy of football unifies players and fans across the world.
The month-long campaign and film titled ‘Family Reunion’ sees football fan and UK rapper Stormzy round up a group of football icons including Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, Achraf Hakimi, Son Heung-Min, Jude Bellingham, Pedro ‘Pedri’ González López and Serge Gnabry for a reunion like no other.
Focusing on preparing for the tournament, the 60 second film creates a sense of World Cup nostalgia and football culture as each of the players showcase their individual traits. The aim of the campaign is to remind football fans why the ‘essence’ of the tournament is so special, and inspire fans around the world. Because, when football is everything, nothing is impossible.
Wieden + Kennedy
Nike released their campaign a few days before the tournament started to excite and build hype in the run up to the World Cup. Titled “The ‘FootballVerse’, the 4 and a half minute film tells the story of an international team of scientists in Switzerland who bring together legendary football players of the past, present and future to settle who is the greatest player of all time.
Starring in the film include elite Nike athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Alex Morgan, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and many more.
Check out their website where you can be part of the FootballVerse.
As part of Nike’s campaign, the sports brand launched an out-of-home activation of a giant football with a QR code on it, crashed on top of an Uber in London. The marketing stunt took place outside Nike’s retail store in Oxford Circus.
“Believing is Magic”
WPP / Universal Music Group
Since 1974, Coca-Cola has partnered with FIFA and this year the global soft drink brand launched their World Cup campaign 3 months before the tournament is set to begin.
The campaign “Believing is Magic” celebrates a passionate football fan walking down the street with a bottle of Coca Cola as she envisages her team winning the World Cup.
Their integrated, digital driven campaign also included The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola, where, for the first time, they brought the solid-gold Original FIFA World Cup Trophy to 51 countries and territories.
“Wanna go to McDonald’s?”
Wieden + Kennedy
Their largest global campaign to date.
McDonald’s leans on the theme of ‘commonality’ throughout their FIFA World Cup marketing campaign asking the universally recognised question of all time: “Wanna go to McDonald’s?”.
The campaign reminds us that whether in loss or victory, joy or heartbreak, McDonald’s is the world’s favourite place to come together.
The campaign will also mark the first time that more than 75 of McDonald’s markets around the world are launching the same campaign at the same time.
Featuring international football and McDonald’s fans, the 60 second commercial speaks 10 languages and 4 dialects from TikTok Creator Khaby Lame, K-pop artist ITZY, Twitch streamer Edwin Castro and “Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudekis.
“The Next Ninety Minutes”
Sports energy drink, Gatorade, launched a new global campaign featuring football favourites Lionel Messi, Roberto Carlos and Robert Pires.
The title “The Next Ninety Minutes,” is a reference to the length of a professional football game, and inspires athletes to mentally and physically prepare for a game.
As a celebration of Messi’s extraordinary football achievements, Gatorade are also launching a limited-edition version of Gatorade’s iconic Gx Bottle, which has been co-designed by Messi himself. The illustrations capture Messi’s life and inspiring legacy in the bottle.
When two superstars step foot on Etihad Airways, it’s very rare that they’ll be upstaged by somebody else. That’s not the case with Etihad’s new advert. As sporting legends Khabib Nurmagomedov and Clarence Seedorf get settled into their seats, they can’t help but notice the commotion being made over another passenger. Turns out, it’s not another sporting superstar, but a falcon.
“Etihad welcomes all football fans including falcons”
This is a thing by the way, you can genuinely take falcons onboard Etihad flights as part of your hand luggage…
The campaign is being used to promote Etihad Airways increasing their capacity to six flights per day between Abu Dhabi and Doha for the World Cup. Qatar Airways is FIFA’s official airline partner for the tournament so this is a great bit of ambush marketing by Etihad.
Could it also be argued that their use of “Etihad welcomes all football fans…” is a sly dig at the criticism Qatar has faced around asking fans to follow their rules and their views on the LGBTQ+ community?
“The World Is Yours To Take”
Wieden + Kennedy
Another star-studded campaign sees Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr and Raheem Sterling lead fans of different ages, nationalities, ethnicities and abilities down the tunnel and onto the pitch. Todd Allen, global vice-president of marketing at Budweiser said: “As sponsor of the Fifa World Cup for more than 30 years, we wanted to capture the infectious global energy of football fans everywhere to encourage people to find the conviction to go for greatness, no matter what the journey to get there might look like.”
In addition to the video, fans have had the chance to win match tickets by scanning QR codes found on limited-edition Budweiser bottles and cans.
One thing we noticed that we really like is the song choice. Tears for Fears’ biggest hit, ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ is the perfect subtle nod to the tournament and the ambition of every team, to win the pinnacle of men’s international football.
Fox Sports highlights the Winter World Cup taking place for the first time in history during the Holiday Season in their creative commercial ‘Superfan Santa’.
The ad spot spreads festive cheer as it ties the excitement of Christmas and the World Cup into a 60 second commercial. Starring celebrities such as Tom Brady, Mariah Carey and Ellie Kemper, the commercial tells the story of how Santa Claus realises the positive effect that sharing the Holiday Season with the 2022 tournament will be the gift that keeps on giving.
“Feast of Football – Let’s Do It”
The Brand of the Year has arguably produced one of our favourite adverts for the World Cup.
There’s a very famous Nike advert from the 1998 World Cup where the Brazil team play football through an airport whilst waiting for their flight. Well, as part of their Christmas campaign, the supermarket Aldi has reimagined that advert with its famous ‘Kevin the Carrot’ character and a host of footballing friends.
He’s joined by the likes of Ronaldi the Lemon, Mmmbap, (Roy) Bean, Macaroony, Marrowdona, and Beth Swede.
The resulting game of football ends with Kevin missing his flight and ultimately having to defend his house from an intruder à la Home Alone style.
Within seconds of this advert starting, we were feeling all of the nostalgic vibes. The Nike advert is one of the most iconic Nike adverts and Aldi have done a really good job of parodying it, without straight up copying it.
“Every Four Years”
KIA brought the vibes. Their hero video has perfectly captured the vast array of emotions that football fans go through every time the World Cup comes around. Alongside the video, the brand are running a social media campaign under the tag #KiaInspireTogether and will encourage football fans to create UGC to show their passion for their team.
“Every four years, something comes around that has the power to turn the ridiculous into the sublime.”
Their key brand message for this World Cup was “Inspiration. It’s in all of us.” which is a great way of summing up the impact that major tournaments can have on those watching from around the globe. To see the biggest stars, on the biggest of stages can serve as inspiration for the next generation.
As the Official Mobility Partner and Official Match Ball Carrier for the tournament, KIA will highlight the dreams and inspirations of 64 children from about 20 different nations globally, for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of carrying the official match ball to the pitch alongside the players and match officials.
This year’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar is expected to be watched by 5 billion people around the world, far surpassing the record 3.5 billion that watched the 2018 World Cup held in Russia.
We’re excited to see more marketing efforts and activations throughout the next four weeks as we watch which team will bring the trophy home. Keep an eye on our social media channels @behindsport and @becauseofmarketing to keep up to date with everything going on!